The death toll from the powerful Feb. 6 earthquakes in southern Türkiye has risen to 43,556, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Wednesday, according to Anadolu Agency.
Soylu made the remarks during a live broadcast with the TRT Haber TV channel in Hatay, one of the 11 provinces that were hit by the quakes.
"This is one of the biggest earthquakes in the world," he said.
The minister said it required a certain period of time to respond when faced with 26,000 collapsed homes during the first hours, and the earthquakes hit an area covering 110,000 square kilometers (42,471 square miles).
"This is the size of three Netherlands," he added.
The powerful tremors were centered in Kahramanmaras and shook 10 other provinces -- Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa and Elazig.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Türkiye will begin constructing more than 200,000 homes as early as March in areas devastated by the earthquakes and complete the process within one year.